OGDEN — Valerie Young wiped away tears as Emilie Parker’s motorcade passed by on Monroe Boulevard.
Young, of Ogden, was one of those carrying pink flowers, waving pink ribbons, holding signs and balloons as they stood along the street Saturday to pay tribute to the 6-year-old girl who was killed in Newtown, Conn., along with 19 other children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Emilie’s funeral is one of the last ones to take place and is the only one to be held west of the Mississippi.
Emilie’s parents are Robbie and Alissa Parker, who met at Ben Lomond High School. The funeral was held at the Rock Cliff LDS Stake Center, which is just north of the high school.
About 800 people attended the funeral, mostly friends and family. The family had requested that only friends and family members attend the funeral but did allow media to sit in the overflow section. No cameras were allowed inside the church.
“This is our way to show love and support to the family,” Young said as she reached down to her own 6-year-old daughter. “It’s just a small thing, but it’s something we can do.”
Young went to school with Robbie Parker.
“Robbie’s a good person,” she said. “He didn’t deserve this.”
Kierston and Karl Prescott bundled up their 2-month-old son and also waited in the cold for the funeral procession on Monroe Boulevard.
“Everybody’s hearts hurt, and we want to show our support,” Karl Prescott said.
Layton resident Ben Winter, 8, handed out pink carnations to those along Monroe Boulevard. He was there with his mother, Amy Winter.
“I know (Emilie) likes pink flowers, and I want the family to remember her,” said Ben, who has never met the Parker family.
Amy Winter said she and her son just wanted to show Emilie’s family support on Saturday.
Ogden police sent about a dozen motorcycle officers to help with the procession and to patrol the area.
About 50 members of Bikers Against Child Abuse parked their motorcycles, all adorned with pink and green ribbons, along the street leading to the church parking lot. Pink was Emilie’s favorite color, and green and white are the colors of her school back in Connecticut.
BACA members came to make sure the family “could say good-bye to their little girl in peace,” one biker said.
Several bikers also tied pink bows onto cars and trucks parked along the street to show support for Emilie.
Emilie’s cousin, Caleb Garrett, was one of the speakers at the funeral, which was attended by several dignitaries, including Gov. Gary Herbert and Elder Quentin L. Cook, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Caleb talked about how creative and artistic his young cousin was and how, when she spoke, “I felt like the world was a wonderful place to be in.”
“As we move forward, we should remember the life that Emilie lived and that will help us.”
Bishop Brett Keller, the Parker family’s bishop from Newtown, also spoke at the funeral.
Keller told about last Sunday’s church meeting when he sat with the children on the floor in the Primary room in their church house.
He asked the children who was a friend with Emilie.
“Every single hand shot up,” he said.
He told the children that Emilie was with Heavenly Father and she is “safe and very protected,” Keller said.
Robbie Parker also spoke at the funeral. He talked about how his first-born daughter never gave up, whether it was learning to draw something or make a friend.
Emilie had once come home from school and said one of the boys in her class “was very rude,” Robbie Parker said. They talked about different solutions. The next day, she came home and said he was still rude, but she continued thinking of different solutions.
Finally, one day, Emilie came home and reported that “he didn’t say one mean thing to me today,” Robbie Parker said.
Because the family moved a lot because of Robbie Parker’s profession as a physician assistant, they did not have time to make friends.
Emilie became “that friend for both of us,” Robbie Parker said.
“When she was born, we knew she was a special gift from our Heavenly Father.”
Emilie was buried in Evergreen Memorial Park in Ogden.